The Mystery of Me by Karen McCombie and Cathy Brett

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The Mystery of Me by Karen McCombie and Cathy Brett

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Category: Dyslexia Friendly
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: A great story with a superb twist at the end which I really wasn't expecting. Stunning stuff for tweens - and dyslexia friendly too. Highly recommended.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 80 Date: July 2017
Publisher: Barrington Stoke
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-1781127209

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Two minutes and thirty-nine seconds can be quite a long time, you know, particularly when you're technically dead. That's what happened to Ketty after the accident which she doesn't remember at all. Her parents were warned that their daughter might have a different temperament when she gets over the trauma, but they're just relieved when it seems that she's going to be OK. Going back to school is a bit of a struggle: people seem a little nervous of Ketty and sometimes she struggles to remember people's names. It's all very frightening and confusing, but there is one person who gives her a lot of support and that's Otis. He might just have the key to what happened in the accident too.

Oh, but this is a stunning story. Karen McCombie captures how Ketty feels perfectly, with that nagging worry that your memory isn't all there and that people know more about you than you do. There's the knowledge too that you're not completely well yet, that you can't stand a lot of noise or crowds and the way that people don't quite know what to say to you. It's insightful and it's going to give kids something to think about when they encounter someone who has been ill, or possibly bereaved. There is, though, a real twist in the tail of this story which completely turns everything on its head and which left me stunned. I'm not even going to give you a clue, but, well... wow! It's a great story, brilliantly told. Cathy Brett's illustrations complement the story perfectly.

There's a bonus with this book too - or rather the whole basis of this book is something quite special. It's dyslexia friendly. The reading age is eight, but the interest age is eight plus, so it's going to encourage kids who are just a bit slow at picking up the reading habit or who are struggling with the technique. You'll find details of the reading age and interest age just to the right of the barcode on the back of the book - it's not obvious unless you know what you're looking for and kids not going to be embarrassed by it. The super-readable sticker (that's what tells you that it's dyslexia friendly) peels off easily and the cover design looks just like the trendy books the other kids are reading.

So, what makes the book dyslexia friendly? Well, firstly Barrington Stoke have designed a special font where each character is distinct and pulls the reader on to read the next word. It's printed on an off-white paper, which reduces the glare which can distract some readers and the paper is substantial enough to ensure that there's no bleed through from the reverse of the page. The spacing between words and lines has been carefully judged to give the best reading experience and the text has not been justified as this can mean that readers get lost on the page. The book has clearly defined chapters to give natural rest breaks and it's not just the reader who benefits from that - many parents and carers feel the same way. It's not just people with dyslexia who benefit from these ingenious changes - most young readers will find the books easier to read and more enjoyable. I'm just about into my dotage and recently I've been suffering from eye problems - and Barrington Stoke books are the ones which I can read most easily.

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag.

For more dyslexia-friendly books from Karen McCombie for this age group we can recommend The Girl With The Sunshine Smile.

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Buy The Mystery of Me by Karen McCombie and Cathy Brett at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Mystery of Me by Karen McCombie and Cathy Brett at Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy The Mystery of Me by Karen McCombie and Cathy Brett at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Mystery of Me by Karen McCombie and Cathy Brett at


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